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Max Tshabalala's R43m Sars debt halts Bloem Celtic sale

Max Tshabalala
Max Tshabalala
Image: Bloemfontein Celtic via Twitter

Bloemfontein Celtic’s sale by owner Max Tshabalala to potential new buyers Sinki Leshabane and Dr Moeketsi Mosola has officially fallen through.

A sale of R40-million‚ of which a R22-million deposit was to be paid by Friday‚ was terminated by the potential new buyers on Tuesday.

The root of the deal being off is believed to be tremendous debt of R43-million owed by Tshabalala to the South African Revenue Service (Sars)‚ and a complex situation of two companies being registered as Celtic‚ which scared off the buyers.

However Max Tshabalala’s lawyer and cousin‚ Mandla Tshabalala‚ was adamant that this was merely an excuse‚ and that these stumbling blocks could have been easily overcome.

“Max owes Sars. It includes Celtic and his other companies‚” Mandla Tshabalala told this publication.

“There is a deferment payment plan. He has brought the amount down significantly through it. Sars have got the right to a TPA – third party appointment.

“If they know that there’s a creditor who owes a taxpayer‚ and that taxpayer owes Sars‚ then they can go directly to that creditor.

“Max voluntarily let Sars know about this transaction. They correctly issued a TPA to the potential buyers.

“Which is not a train smash. Max went to the potential buyers and said‚ ‘Even with the TPA‚ this deal still continues. When you’ve paid Sars it’s like you’ve paid me’.

“Sars even came with a beautiful payment plan and said‚ ‘In the R22-million‚ pay R15-million and then run your business‚ and then maybe in 30 days pay the remainder’.

“There was no stumbling block. They just had to pay the TPA and the ownership would have passed to them.”

Mandla Tshabalala said the company being registered twice is a technicality. He said this partly stemmed from when Dr Petrus Molemela sold the club to Jimmy Augousti‚ who sold Celtic to Max Tshabalala in 2014.

He said that the current Celtic company that is recognised by the PSL was registered in the name of Max Tshabalala’s brother‚ Phakiso‚ to circumvent a ruling that a new owner of a PSL club may not have owned a previous team within a year. Max Tshabalala had owned First Division Roses United.

“When we did our research we found that the previous Bloem Celtic company of Dr Molemela was never liquidated.

“The company registered under Phakiso was only for a year in 2015. Later it was registered under Max’s name.

“So if the new owners really wanted to buy these are things that could have been resolved easily.”

Mandla Tshabalala alleged that last week Thursday Max Tshabalala was called to the PSL offices‚ only to find the potential buyers there‚ who were asking the league for a loan for travel and accommodation costs for Celtic’s next away game.

This publication is further informed that at least some of Celtic’s players have resolved that‚ with the sale falling through‚ they would rather terminate their contracts than work under Max Tshabalala‚ given recent financial problems and salaries not being paid.

Mandla Tshabalala confirmed this‚ but said it was only “a few players – and we know who the instigators are”.

However‚ radio reports were that the whole Celtic squad did not report for training on Wednesday.

Mandla Tshabalala said Max Tshabalala’s large tax debt had been accrued largely because of the costs of running Celtic‚ which had escalated when MTN pulled out as a sponsor.

He said Max would now look for new buyers‚ but was not financially desperate to sell Celtic.

“The team gets its grant from the PSL. There just might need to be some drastic changes in scaling back and maybe retrenching.

“But he’d prefer to get out of football. Mostly because Max was never welcomed by Celtic as the owner. It’s made him miserable.

“But if there are no buyers the team will be sustainable.”

Leshabane could not be reached for comment despite repeated attempts to call her.

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